Malta bank holidays are regulated by national holidays and other public holidays act. Keep in mind that if holidays fall on a day of rest, they are not moved to working day.
Public holidays are more related to sacred religious traditions. Several religious feasts are organized in different cities across Malta. Public holidays in Malta occur on the following days: New Years’ Day, Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck, Good Friday, Workers’ Day, Feast of St Joseph, Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, Feast of the Assumption, Feast of the Immaculate Conception and Christmas Day.
As part of the Christmas festivities and as such, New Year’s Day is a public holiday and the first of the year. The Maltese celebrate New Year’s Day with most of the population spending the day with their friends and family, usually with a large home-made lunch or dining in one of the islands’ restaurants.
The 10th of February marks a special day in the history of Malta. In the year 60 AD St. Paul was shipwrecked in Malta, an event documented in the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible, and with his arrival came Christianity; the most widely practiced faith in Malta today with the Catholic faith having a heavy influence over the population.
Whilst St. Joseph has no direct link to Malta, he is a very important Saint in the Catholic faith as the spouse of the Virgin Mary. On the 19th of March, it is a religious obligation for Maltese Catholics to attend mass on the day. In Rabat, an evening procession is held around the town in the evening with a statue of St. Joseph.
Celebrating the final departure of the British Armed Forces and Royal Navy in 1979, Freedom Day marks the day that Malta stopped being a military base for other nations. A monument was erected in Vittoriosa to commemorate Freedom Day but commemorations usually take place in the War Memorial in Floriana. Regatta boat races in the grand Harbour, also celebrating Freedom Day, attract large crowds on an annual basis.
In Christianity, Good Friday forms part of the Easter celebrations to reflect on the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Many traditions take place during this period in Malta but most Maltese residents will attend one of the 14 Good Friday pageants held in the evening across the island in various towns and villages. At the pageants, long processions take place with statues portraying scenes from the Passion of the Christ and many will dress up as various characters from the bible.
Workers’ day is celebrated in many countries as a sign of solidarity for workers and employees. It also marks out the signs of a healthy working environment. Malta also has another reason to celebrate the 1st of May as it was on this date that they became full members of the European Union. A variety of different festivities occur all over Malta on this day every year.
The 7th of June commemorates the day that four Maltese nationals were killed when British troops fired into the crowds during a riot against the British. This event is seen as the first step to Malta gaining independence and as such, is now a national holiday.
Whilst the name of this holiday implies this day as a religious feast; cultural and traditional celebrations are the main focus of the day. A folk singing event in Buskett Gardens marks the eve of the holiday along with the serving of a traditional Maltese dish – fried rabbit. On the day itself, Rabat hosts traditional horse races in Saqqajja within the city limits of Rabat itself.
The Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is also known as the Feast of St. Mary. It is celebrated across various villages in both Malta and Gozo. A great devotion to St. Mary after the first three ships of the Santa Marija convoy arrived to save Malta from starvation near the end of the Second World War. At this time of year, it is a tradition for many Maltese people to take a short holiday to the neighbouring island of Gozo.
Feast of Our Lady of Victories commemorates several important events that happened on this day. The Great Siege of 1565 against the Ottoman Empire, riots against the French in 1800 and the day the Second World War ended. The Grand Harbour hosts traditional regatta boat races and even the highest Maltese authorities take part in the various celebrations. Also on this day, Senglea, Naxxar and Xaghra host religious feasts to commemorate the events of September 8th.
After many eras of being subject to foreign occupation, Malta gained independence on the 21st September 1964 when it left the British Empire. This day is considered as one of the most significant dates for the Maltese and activities are held all across Malta to remember those who worked incredibly hard to achieve independence and the sacrifice they made for the Maltese people.
The Maltese people hold the Feast of the Immaculate Conception very close to their hearts. On this public holiday, Catholic believers go to the church whilst small feasts are organized across Malta and Gozo to celebrate this cherished day in memory of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
On December 13th 1979, Malta became its own Republic state. A President of Maltese nationality replaced the Queen of England as the Head of State. On this day, wreaths are laid over the Republic Day monument in Marsa.
Celebrated across the world, Christmas is a joyful event, especially for children. A magical time for families to have a traditional Christmas lunch and exchange gifts, it also has religious significance in Malta. All across the island on Christmas Eve, which is not a Malta Bank Holiday, processions take place with a statue of Baby Jesus before culminating in a traditional Midnight Mass.